Dust and Shadow
A collection of experiments as embodied manifestations of specific propositions:
[T]he importance of propositions is not limited to matters of truth and falsity. Language is used to evoke attention to features of the world that another person may be missing. Perhaps someone wants me to look up at a branch in a nearby tree. She has propositional feelings of a rare bird being there. Her interest may be in my entertaining the same proposition, but the most effective method may be just to point with a certain expression on her face, or to say “look quick” with some excitement. These gestures may lead to the result better than the sober statement that there is a rare bird there. - Giorgias Romero
Field trip for locals and travellers to experientially attune to the desert environment. Through “durational desert abiding” we'll explore the embodied sense of layered time, observing & listening, material wonder & wander, solitude & (in)difference. (March 7-12)
Questions: What could be the different ways and means to experience layered time in the desert? What if we refrain from speech and use the visceral language of experience? What does “brutal mysticism” in the desert look like?
Proposition: We need to spend time in the desert to experientially attune to the environment. Communing rather than examining. We can attune to the desert without romanticising wilderness or drawing a hard line between the desert and urban civilisation. We tread lightly and see the desert with new eyes.
… do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.
… I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the self merges with a non-human world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and bedrock. – Edward Abbey
A field experiment formed around the question “what would a thalient lab in the desert look like?” (March 12-23 2018)
Proposition: There are ways and means to communicate with entities we share the planet with. At all times there are other beings listening. We can hear each other if we pay attention. One of the means to establish contact could be through technological mediation
Thalience is an attempt to give the physical world itself a voice so that rather than us asking what reality is, reality itself can tell us. It is the discipline that chooses among multiple successful scientific models based on which ones best satisfy our human, aesthetic/moral/personal needs. In other words, given two or more equally valid models of the universe, thalience is the art of choosing the one with the most human face. It is the recovery of the natural in our understanding of the Natural. (…) thalience would use objective truth as an artistic medium and merge subjectivity and objectivity in a creative activity whose purpose is the re-sanctification of the natural world. To believe in an uplifting and satisfying vision of your place in the universe, and to know that this vision is true (or as true as anything can be) would be sublime. Thalience would be an activity worthy of post-scientific humanity, or our own biological or post-biological successors. -Karl Schroeder
Dust & Shadow (audio)walk celebrating the arrival of desert spring in a panpsychic tradition. (March 24 2018)
Question: What arts become possible if we widen the 'sentience spectrum' and emphasize experience and interaction with diverse beings?
Proposition: We need a new form of geomancy to align with the reality of the desert. To better attune to our surroundings we can practice the craft of silence and heterogeneous hearing and become human receptors and listening devices. Deep listening and attunement can help us uncover sacred refugia and wild sanctuaries in urban surroundings of the everyday.
The participants are invited to attune, to experience diverse forms of listening, and to practice a geomancy for the age of climate chaos. Walking in silence through the Sonoran dust in the shadow of civilisation, the participants may begin to hear the murmur of matter, uncover desert refugia amidst urban life, and forge new connections with the unexpected.
Date: Saturday, March 24, 2018
Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm (golden hour 6:00, sunset 6:40-6:45, blue hour 6:58, dusk 7:08, night 8:06)
Location: Moeur Park
Meeting locale: North Shore Volley Ball courts, Tempe Town Lake
Park on E Lake View Drive under the 202 highway overpass. The walk will begin under the overpass.
GPS coordinates 33.435206,-111.941293
This film is a proposition in the full sense that Alfred North Whitehead intended this term. A proposition, for Whitehead, is neither true nor false in itself. It is a lure for feeling the world that “might be.” A proposition is what places a concrescing subject (an occasion of experience) in relation to a potential predicative pattern. It is the potential togetherness of subject and predicate that characterizes a proposition and not its actual exemplification. But propositions do not hang in the thin air of abstraction; they always emerge from somewhere and are entertained by an actual subject within a particular milieu. The proposition’s relevance and importance (or its “truth”—in William James’ sense) is contingent upon the world that it finds itself within. This experimental film fabricates a propositional space in which subjects (Phoenix, urban desert, etc.) are drawn together with predicative patterns (shadow Bellmont, pharmacological uncertainty, communicational indeterminacy, etc.) to lure us into certain modes of attunement. Since the world we inhabit may not yet be ready to entertain such a proposition, we must actively forge the conditions under which it might begin to. -Adam Nocek
The seasonal feast for the arrival of desert spring in a parallel shade world, Shadow Belmont. (~March 19 2018 & 2019)
Questions: How to translate animist attitudes into worldviews compatible with contemporary techno-materialist societies? How to (re)animate pre-modern sensibilities without dualisms of light/dark, good/evil, love/power? What would be celebrated in a regenerative eutopia in the desert?
Proposition: It is possible to transform zombie utopias into fertile compost for regenerative eutopias. Myth-making and reactivating myths can animate inert cultural, geological and architectural markers. Conviviality and kinship includes diverse entities and different lenses of interrelation. We can draw inspiration from animism, panpsychism, shinto, shamanism, etc.
Prototype: Equinox eve 2018 (March 19, sunset; Spring Equinox time: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 9:15 am in Sonoran Desert. ) Feast (?): ~Equinox eve 2019 (equinox time GMT: Mar 20, 21:58)
In the dry and hot Sonoran desert, spring is a time of replenishment. A time to celebrate blossoming of plants and ideas alike. Days are slowly warming up, heralding the season of flowering cactus and renewed growth. The spring equinox - when light and darkness, the mundane and the sacred are (at least cosmically) equipoised - invokes a sense of balance, alignment and attunement. Time to celebrate the connections with all beings we share this season with…
The feast could consist of the following elements:
Durational attument through a range of embodied practices
Blessings and offerings
Food & Drink
(This experiment could be produced as an actual feast or a speculative open air museum with stories and artifacts suggesting alternative myths, lifestyles and ecosystems)